College Will Not Require Second COVID-19 Booster or Host Vaccine Clinics This Semester

Gabe Arnold ‘26, Staff Writer

Dickinson College students who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine might find that obtaining one is more difficult than last year’s original booster dose, since the college currently has no plans to host vaccine clinics. 

“Due to the decreased attendance in most recent vaccine clinics, [Dickinson] will not be hosting additional clinics on campus,” Lauren Strunk of the Wellness Center told The Dickinsonian.

The bivalent booster will not be mandated for students and faculty, nor will there be any updates to the COVID-19 quarantine policy. Strunk said that “we are not currently in the process of changing the policy. However, as CDC [COVID-19] guidelines change, so may our policies.”

Nonetheless, Strunk said that getting the booster is “strongly” recommended for students and that “staying up to date on vaccines is the best way to prevent or minimize symptoms of illness.” She added that any student seeking the booster should know that Sadler Health Center is offering it, as well as local pharmacies.

The new booster dose, which was approved by the FDA in early September, is more robust than the original dose and elicits a stronger immune response that helps protect against the Omicron variant and its sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5.

“The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines include a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant,” the FDA shared via its website. 

A single dose of the Moderna booster vaccine is approved for those 18 years of age and older, and a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech version is approved for those 12 years of age and older. Additionally, recipients must wait at least two months since their previous COVID-19 vaccination to receive a booster.

“[Sadler Health Center] will offer appointments for anyone wanting a COVID-19 booster vaccine,” said Laurel Spagnolo, Sadler Director of Development and Community Engagement. “Nothing is scheduled with Dickinson at this point, but we would consider doing so if requested.”

For students and faculty who are unable or unwilling to walk to Sadler, which is about a ten-minute walk from the Holland Union Building, Spagnolo said, “We would consider scheduling clinics at Dickinson using our mobile van. This would likely be based on interest.”

A common concern among those interested in receiving the new booster dose is whether sufficient human testing took place. On this matter Spagnolo said, “According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the safety of a single booster dose of either of the bivalent boosters for individuals is supported by safety data from clinical studies.”

She added, “Boosters are an important part of protecting yourself from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. They are recommended for most people.”